Posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2021 by Bob Dittman, ed. Marya Morgan

(K-LOVE Closer Look) – Losing your job can be emotionally draining and can even lead to questioning your faith in God. “To have some anger, some bitterness, some regret is a very natural thing,” agrees Dave Sparkman of Crossroad Career Services, who challenges jobseekers to ask themselves “…a truly curious question. ‘I wonder what God’s up to here?’”

CCS is a collaboration of career coaches founded more than 20-years  ago on the principle that no one should struggle alone to find meaningful work. Their professionals help Christians examine their lives and skills and help them prayerfully consider a vast array of vocational opportunities. “People usually shortchange themselves when they do their own assessment,” Sparkman says. “They don’t think of themselves as worthy or skilled enough to do certain things, and the reality is their experiences, giftings, their own capabilities to learn new things are tremendously deep wells for most people.” He recalls one woman he coached who spent 18 years observing coyotes and beavers and transferred those wildlife biology skills --  organization, careful planning and personal discipline -- into the regular office job she desired. “There are many subtle skills that you’ve developed over your job life that are very transferable into another area.”

Sparkman warns you may be tempted to immediately search for work in the same industry because it is what you know, but says thinking more broadly doesn’t have to mean starting over. “There may be steppingstones to get across the pond,” like getting additional education or taking an initial cut in pay, but life experience is leverage. “I like to call it ‘seasoning’…you may be able to move up faster in the workplace than someone else who doesn’t have that experience.”

What’s the first step towards assessing your options? Sparkman recommends you think about your first job, your worst job and the best job you ever had. This exercise narrows down the nature of the work, the environment, the locale and the goals of the kind of job you might find fulfilling. “Couple those with how God marvelously created you to be unique with your giftings, your skills, your abilities, your experience, your passions and your core values,” and it can lead somewhere wholly unexpected. “We like to refer to jobseekers as explorers,” and with planning and effort “we have found that God starts to open up wonderful doors and windows for you to look through.” 

Crossroads Career Services relies heavily on biblical principles, meeting in support groups for mutual encouragement and training through free, faith-based teachings to help jobseekers stay up-to-date and on track. The training begins with looking ‘upward’ to discover what God may be telling you about your current employment situation – ‘inward’ to your own needs, desires and skills – and ‘outward’ to how you may be able to be a blessing to other people. “We do have a lot of practical and tactical HR and recruitment advice, but it’s all grounded in Scripture.”

Most of all, Sparkman says Crossroads Career Services advisors recognize the real pain of unemployment on a human soul and are excited to offer hope. “When you have an interruption of being laid off or COVID 19 shutdown your entire industry, let’s open up your mind to what you still have the capacity to do in learning new things.”

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